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Connacht have signed Ireland Rugby League convert Api Pewhairangi

The 23-year-old is Irish-qualified through his grandmother.

CONNACHT HAVE TODAY unveiled 23-year-old Irish qualified rugby league convert Apirana Pewhairangi as a new signing for next season.


Pewhairangi represented Ireland in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, qualifying thanks to his grandmother from Lucan.

Pewhairangi started out as a  rugby union player with Manawatu but switched codes at 17 and moved to Australia to play with Parramatta Eels in the NRL before returning to New Zealand with the Warriors.

Petero Civoniceva gets tackled by Apirana Pewhairangi Pewhairangi tackles Fiji's Petero Civoniceva during the 2013 World Cup. Source: Focus Images/Richard Gould/INPHO

“I am proud to be returning to Ireland, my grandmother’s homeland. Joining Connacht is extremely exciting for me and I want to make a big impact,” he said in today’s statement.

“At 23 Api has already achieved a lot on and off the field,” says head coach Pat Lam.

He has played in the tough NRL competition, represented Ireland in the 2013 rugby League World Cup and graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree. He is keen for a new challenge in transitioning back to rugby union where he spent his youth playing.

“With our big focus on skill development and continued learning and understanding of the game here at Connacht rugby I have no doubt he will have a great opportunity to meet his challenge head on. His professional rugby league experience will add another skillset to the squad and we look forward to him joint the squad for preseason.”

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To learn a little more about the code-breaker (including how to pronounce his name) take a look at this feature interview on TVNZ show, Marae.

Source: maraetv/YouTube

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Sean Farrell

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